Suffering from Canadiens withdrawal? The Gazette has the answer with the ultimate fantasy experience as beat writer Pat Hickey and Gazette techie Eric Tobon employ EA Sports NHL 13 to produce The Season That Isn’t. Here’s how things might have looked in Thursday night’s game between the Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre.
WINNIPEG – The Canadiens enjoyed their most productive night of the season as they pulled away to a 5-0 lead midway through the game and went on to defeat the Winnipeg Jets 7-3 Thursday night at the MTS Centre.
“That’s the kind of game we’ve been looking for,” Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien said. “We put the pressure on them and forced them to take penalties and we scored four goals on the power play. And we got two other goals by taking advantage of turnovers in the neutral zone.”
Rene Bourque opened the scoring at 1:36 of the first period and Alexei Emelin, Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec added power-play goals before the period was over.
Brian Gionta made it 5-0 before Dustin Byfuglien ended backup goaltender Peter Budaj’s shutout bid at 16:13 of the second period. P.K. Subban added another power-play goal at 18:49 of the second period. The Canadiens went 4-for-8 on the power play.
Eric Fehr and Evander Kane scored for Winnipeg early in the third period, while Scott Gomez gave Montreal the final margin of victory with a goal at 19:12. Kane’s goal came on the power play as Winnipeg went 1-for-5 with the extra man.
“We had balanced scoring tonight,” said Canadiens captain Gionta, who had three assists to go with his fifth goal of the season. “Seven different guys scored goals and 13 guys picked up at least one assist. It was good to see Patch back in the lineup.”
The one disappointing note for the Canadiens was the loss of Louis Leblanc with what appeared to be a shoulder injury late in the second period. Leblanc, who had an ice bag on his shoulder as he waited for the team bus, said he didn’t think it was a serious injury and added it wasn’t the same shoulder that was surgically repaired in 2011.
The win gave Budaj two wins in as many starts.
“It’s not easy win when you don’t play a lot, but the guys gave me a big lead and they didn’t allow too many shots,” Budaj said.
That wasn’t the case for Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. He gave up five goals on 26 shots before being replaced by Al Montoya, who stopped 14 of the 16 shots he faced.
The Canadiens are in Denver to face the Colorado Avalanche Saturday and return home to play the Nashville Predators on Monday.
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)